Asee peer logo

New Accreditation Criteria For The Civil Engineering Profession: Process And Products

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

New! Improved! CE Accreditation Criteria

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.960.1 - 10.960.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Stephen Ressler

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2215

New Accreditation Criteria for the Civil Engineering Profession: Process and Products

Stephen Ressler United States Military Academy

Introduction This paper describes the ongoing development of new ABET accreditation criteria for civil engineering programs, as part of the larger process of implementing the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Policy 465. The paper summarizes the evolution of Policy 465 and the associated Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK); it discusses the advantages and limitations inherent in using accreditation criteria as an instrument for fostering implementation of the BOK; it summarizes the development process leading to new draft BOK-compliant accreditation criteria; and, finally, it provides a detailed description and analysis of the products—proposed Basic Level Civil Engineering Program Criteria, Advanced Level General Criteria, and the associated draft ASCE Commentary.

The ultimate purpose of this paper is to share the new draft criteria with a broader audience and to solicit feedback that will further improve the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of these products.

Background: Policy 465 and the Body of Knowledge Rapid technological advancement, globalization, and ever-increasing political, social, environmental, and economic constraints are fundamentally changing the practice of civil engineering today. Yet many academic institutions are ill-equipped to respond to these challenges, because of severe credit hour limitations that have been imposed on the four-year bachelor’s degree in recent years. Consequently, the bachelor’s degree is becoming increasingly inadequate as formal academic preparation for the professional practice of civil engineering.

In response to this situation, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Board of Direction adopted Policy Statement 465 in October 1998. This initial version of the policy stated that the Society “supports the concept of the master’s degree as the First Professional Degree for the practice of civil engineering at the professional level.” As the strategy for achieving this vision developed, it became apparent that the policy should more broadly address the academic prerequisites for professional practice and licensure, rather than focusing only on the attainment of a specific academic degree. Hence, in October 2001, the ASCE Board adopted a modified version of Policy 465, indicating that ASCE “supports the concept of the master’s degree or equivalent as a prerequisite for licensure and the practice of civil engineering at the professional level.”

Charged with implementing Policy 465, the ASCE Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice (CAP3) began by considering the three fundamental characteristics of a profession—an ethic of professional service, a professional organization, and a specialized body of knowledge.1 The committee’s analysis of the civil engineering profession suggested that, of

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Ressler, S. (2005, June), New Accreditation Criteria For The Civil Engineering Profession: Process And Products Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15346

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015